Screenwriting: How To Write a Comedy

As with any type of movie, there is a screenwriting process to writing a comedy film. While there is a story line to follow, the key is to amuse the audience throughout the entire film. These films make people laugh out loud and many will become blockbusters. There are some people with a natural funny bone, but you too can write a comedy if you set your mind to it and remember to laugh.

Step 1: Jokes

Don't save everything, but include your best jokes. Also, be aware that there does not have to be a joke every other line. Use jokes effectively. Balance out the content with humor to create a great story that is also funny. It is okay to use some classic jokes as well with your new material. A joke occurs when 2 different ideas intersect and the very funny ones tend to occur when the 2 ideas are wildly different.

Step 2: Stay away from Comedies

When writing a comedy, it is not recommended that you start watching a lot of comedy movies. Many times the subconscious will include jokes from those movies. Unlike other movies, try to distance yourself from other comedies. However, diagramming out how popular comedy movies work can be a good exercise. So, before any writing occurs, watch a few and diagram out the different stages, storylines and where the jokes occur. Or, go and study a famous comedian or character as a mentor when you need some help and get stuck

Step 3: Timing

As with all jokes, the timing is exceedingly important in a comedy movie. In order to get the most laughs, then the jokes should be delivered at the proper time. Being off by a second can make or break the joke. If it is not funny at first, try changing when or how the joke is spoken to see if that helps.

Step 4: Writing

Write a lot as the best comics will have reams of paper for a few great jokes. Try to write with a specific person in mid and compose jokes at the oddest of times, such as: cooking, in the shower or when in traffic. It can help to duplicate others styles, but change the content of the joke. It is okay to take the audience down one path only to have it go in a completely different direction. This can make for some great twists and turns in the story line.

Step 5: Research

Researching topics can help the story along as well as develop different jokes or odd points of view that can be funny. Ask questions about different topics and make sure you completely understand the topic you are writing about.

Step 6: The Audience

Think about who you are writing the movie for. Jokes for an R rated movie will be different from those that can be found in a PG or PG-13 film. It is important that individuals of all ages will find the jokes funny.

Step 7: Is It Funny?

Once it is done, if you do not think it is a funny script, then no one else will. Yes, you will know when the jokes are coming, but if it doesn't make you laugh, then you have not written a comedy.